We’re big believers in the power of the web here at 350.org -- but the web won't solve the climate crisis. People will.
Keep that in mind, then, as we say this: social media is a powerful tool for activists and advocates, and everyone who is able to should use it for good. Like a brick, you can build something huge with it, or cause some minor chaos. We don’t think we need to choose between speaking truth to power and using the very best bullhorn that creativity and passion can buy.
350.org has created a powerful global network in just a few years -- a network that wouldn't exist without the power of the social media. We use social media amplify this movement's most inspiring stories, spread its most innovative ideas, and forge powerful connections around the block and around the world.
See below if you're ready to sign up.
Getting Started with Social Media
If you’ve been reluctant to jump on the social media bandwagon but are finally ready to take the plunge, never fear. Getting started with “new media” is easy!
- Pick your poison. Which social media network is best for you? What do you want out of it? Where are most of your friends and contacts?
- Sign up. All you need to create an account is an email address. Just go to the network’s main website, click the “sign up” or “create an account” button, choose a username and a password, and voilà—you’re ready to start ruling the interwebz, as they say (yes, people do in fact say that). On most major social media platforms, it’s a good idea to use some variation on your real name as your username.
- Start building your profile. Start with a photo. It doesn’t need to be of you, but you need to have one if you want to be taken seriously. Other than that, share as much or as little info as you’d like. Take some time to think through exactly what you want to share—and what you don’t want to share. Even if your network consists of just your tight circle of friends, the nature of social media tools is to facilitate sharing, so anything you post may end up with a larger audience than you expected.
- Start building your network. Friends, family, and colleagues are a great place to start. Who’s in your real-life network? Whose opinions do you care about and want to hear? On Twitter, try following journalists you like to read, celebrities you’re a fan of, or organizations you support (um, @350 for example). The key word here is start. You don’t have to have 500 friends and followers to get going with posting content. In fact, some solid content will help build that network further.
A lot of people have love/hate relationship with Facebook, but let’s face it: it’s where you’ll probably find most of your friends. In terms of social media options, Facebook is the platform that best serves as an extension of your real-world social life. It’s great for organizing events and staying connected with faraway friends just a bit more than you otherwise ould. Pro tip: stay focused on people and promotion, and don’t get bogged down by a ton of games and apps.
Here is where you get started, if you're new: http://www.facebook.com
Here is where you can connect with 350 on Facebook -- just click "like": www.facebook.com/350.org
Here are some tips for sharing on Facebook. Try to make your posts:
- Short. We all understand the power of brevity. But, more specifically, "posts between 100 and 250 characters (less than 3 lines of text) see about 60% more likes, comments and shares than posts greater than 250 characters."
- Visual. Today's social media is highly visual, and social platforms give preference in promoting this kind of content. Images > videos because they're simpler to digest.
- Ask for shares. If your cause is righteous -- and yours is! -- you should not feel ashamed ask people to click a button or two (or three).
Where Facebook is largely about extending existing social ties, Twitter has become a more media-oriented network. It’s favored by celebrities, journalists, and people who are looking to cultivate or create an audience. Twitter is great for tracking topics and connecting with people you don’t already know. If you take the time to actually interact with people instead of just posting about yourself, you’ll find you get more out of it and build a wider network.
Here is where you get started, if you're new: http://www.twitter.com
Here is where you can connect with 350 on Twitter -- follow us there: www.twitter.com/350
All you need to create an account is an email address. Choose a handle (it’s a good idea to use some variation on your real name), then get started building your profile. A photo is essential—it doesn’t need to be of you, but you need to have one if you want to be taken seriously. In your description, be brief, but give people an idea of what you’ll be talking about (climate change, fossil fuel subsidies, cats, cakes, etc.).
Friends, family, and colleagues are a good place to start building your network. Who’s in your real-life network? Whose opinions do you care about and want to hear? Try following journalists you like to read, celebrities you’re a fan of, or organizations you support (@350, for example). The key word here is start. You don’t have to have 500 followers to get going with posting content. In fact, the more active you are right off the bat, the more ways there are for people to find and follow you.
Vocab lesson! A tweet is a short status update: 140 characters worth of deep thoughts, mundane observations, bad puns, etc. Tweet often, and tweet from the heart—you don’t have to “overshare” to make it personal and compelling. Followers are the people who can read your tweets. If you start out by following lots of people, many of them will follow you back. A hashtag or # is just a symbol that the platform uses to track topics. If you include a hashtag in your tweet, your followers can click on it and see all the other tweets using the same hashtag.
Once you are signed up on Facebook and/or Twitter, don't forget to register as part of the 350 social media team here.